I thrift do you?
I have to admit, many who know me would not believe that I do thrift shop, others would not be remotely surprised.
Growing up, I don’t think my mother would have ever taken us to the Salvation Army Thrift Store, Good Will or St. Vincent de Paul Charities if my life depended on it. It was a pride thing. Part of it has to do with the idea that we were not in need as others. It was always a place for those less fortunate to find clothing or household goods.
Oh how times have changed.
I find that as a professional organizer I have become very familiar with donation centers that are run by charitable organizations. I would regularly would frequent them with items that were not longer needed by my clients. I was pretty strict with my clients about what is donate-able. They couldn’t just dump things into a box and give it away. That meant that we did not just throw everything into a box and hope for the best.
Thrift Shop charities raise funds for the community and fund community programs as well as cover overhead costs with the income. They are committed to helping others so you need to donate what they can actually sell. Donating items that would just end up in a dumpster because it is too old, mouldy, torn, broken or unsafe but having the charity foot that bill, just defeats the purpose.
Thrift stores have developed a whole new clientele. The person that converted me to Thrift Store shopping is my oldest daughter. As a young child, she bought into the re-cycle, up-cycle, re-use, re-purpose movement a long time ago. She paid very close attention in school when they taught kids how important recycling is for our future – her future. The idea that we have become such a disposable society, sickens her. She likes the idea of objects having a new purpose or a new home. It does not bother her in the least that it once belong to another person (or another era), all she knows is that it works and it saves her money along the way.
Moving forward, I have decided to do a series of blog posts with my kids to help you see some of the great finds that we have gotten in thrift stores. The posts will be about everything from furniture refinishing and re-purposing, to Halloween Costumes to brand new outfits and designer shoes. All these items have found a ‘second-life’ and have avoided becoming landfill.
I will start the series with a quick over view of each of the charities and how they help out the community. Each serves different areas of the city but you can rest assured that most of these are national and international organizations that help millions of people by re-investing MILLIONS of dollars back into the community. Here are just a few of our favourites:
Together in 2013-2014, we contributed across Canada:
- Over $1.8 million in vouchers for individuals and families in need to redeem for clothing and other items in a Salvation Army Thrift Store.
- $3.3 million supported Salvation Army programs and services including emergency relief and shelters for men, women and the homeless, community, family and single parent support, work readiness and many more.
- Close to $474,000 was raised thanks to you and local businesses for community causes like our in-store fall food drive, paper kettles, emergency and disaster campaigns and the 332 children that were given a chance to go to summer camp!
- Steered 67.3 million pounds of household waste away from local landfills driven through our Thrift Store retail and recycling programs.
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Serving Southwestern Ontario
Goodwill Industries, Ontario Great Lakes is one of seven separately incorporated, non-profit regional Goodwills in Canada, and one of 160 internationally.
Serving a vast geography across South Western Ontario our large mission platform of 19 Community Stores and Donation Centres, a full-service Career Centre and continuum of employment and community support programs serves over 9,000 individuals annually. Another one-million people participate by accessing our employment resources and as donors, shoppers, and volunteers.
Our $12 million operation provides assessment, counselling, skills development, family strengthening, job placement and work experience, an employment resource centre, and a variety of job placement and support services to the corporate sector. We have a partnership with the Small Business Centre to assist persons with disabilities to start their own business.
The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul operates 2 thrift stores in London where the general public can shop for low-cost furniture, clothing and household items. The stores operate as a basic needs distribution center where the people we serve can receive much needed items at no charge. Sales from our stores help fund store operating costs and provide support to programs and services we provide to the homeless and working poor.
Donations of gently uses clothing, furniture and household items may be dropped off at the store locations which can be found under the thrift store link.
Talize fills the gap between discount stores and second-hand boutiques, offering you new and nearly new items under one bright, clean and effortlessly merchandised roof.
We offer our customers exceptional product and value for their dollar. And our customers return the favour, with every item purchased or donated helping to support the Children’s Wish Foundation. Talk about a win-win.
All descriptions are from the individual websites and gives you an idea of where each fit in the Thrift Store spectrum of offerings. Next week we will see how my oldest found her grove at the Salvation Army Thrift Store in east London. Check out her post.